Fact checking

Yesterday, I read a Webrazzi article on the launch of Teyit.org (“teyit” means “confirmation” in English). Teyit.org‘s goal is to fact check Turkish news articles for their accuracy.

Since fact checking is currently a largely human activity, it isn’t easily scalable. It isn’t possible to fact check every article. To address this issue, Teyit.org first ranks articles based on the value which is at stake dependent on the accuracy of the article’s content. Although this is a subjective assessment, it’s the best approach available to us as of today.

Teyit.org prioritizes those articles with a high value at stake and has its research team check the accuracy of the content of these articles. Based on their findings, researchers mark articles as being accurate, inaccurate, confusing, or suspicious, and share a detailed write-up of their findings to support the mark they’ve given.

The internet has reduced the cost of distributing content down to zero. And social media has made this content available to a widespread audience almost instantaneously. The result is an ever increasing pace of content consumption and a reduction in the cost of spreading misinformation (whether intentional or in the attempt to be the first to publish) because, by the time the misinformation inherent in an article emerges, most people have already jumped onto the next news headline.

We need to slow down. This means that we need to not only identify fact from fiction, but also keep people’s attention focused on what we’ve identified long enough for people to become aware of the facts. This isn’t easy in a world where pleasant fiction is easier to sell than brutal facts.

Teyit.org is a great attempt to distinguish fact from fiction. Its bigger challenge will be to get people to care about the facts. I hope it succeeds.

Also published on Medium.